The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) have released a new report on resource consumption. The report, which focused on developed countries, highlighted the advances in waste management and the reduced consumption of raw materials, but highlighted a lack of sustainability when it comes to designing and producing goods.
Resource consumption by Group of Seven countries has flattened out since 1980, despite economic growth, but their per capita consumption is still around 60 per cent above the world average. Soaring demand from developing and emerging countries, and rapid population growth, means global resource consumption could double by 2050, putting serious pressure on the environment.
Policy Guidance on Resource Efficiency, presented to G7 Environment Ministers in Toyama, Japan, calls on governments to apply resource-efficiency policies to the entire life cycle of products and to align them with existing policies in areas like innovation, investment and trade. More harmonisation of environmental labelling and information could also raise standards in resource efficiency, it says.
Rintaro Tamaki, Deputy Secretary General at OECD, said: “Our objective has to be achieving a circular economy where we maintain the value of products and materials for as long as possible and we minimise waste generation.
“The challenge is to create more value from fewer natural resources. This is foremost a matter of national policy decisions, but our report also highlights the value of international co-operation in this area.”